|Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, World Tour, 2015|
Tour Dates: September, 2015
As one of the oldest symphony orchestras in China, or even in Asia, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra (SSO) was founded in 1879 as the Shanghai Public Band.
Shanghai Symphony Orchestra
As one of the oldest symphony orchestras in China, or even in Asia, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra (SSO) was founded in 1879 as the Shanghai Public Band. Later it was renamed the Municipal Council Symphony Orchestra and was once hailed as “the best in the Far East”. In 1919, when the renowned Italian pianist Mario Paci took podium, the orchestra started its performing history in association with well-known musicians from Europe and other countries. In 1956 the orchestra took the current name and gradually developed into a “cultural calling card” of Shanghai. Long Yu, the current Music Director, is the first Chinese conductor to have been invited to conduct the Philadelphia Orchestra, one of the “Big Five” American symphony orchestras. He’s also the Chinese conductor with the most co-operations with top-notch orchestras all over the world.
Ever since its foundation, the SSO has established working relations with world-famous musicians, among them conductors Kurt Masur, Riccardo Muti, Neeme Järvi, Myung-Whun Chung, Charles Dutoit, Mikhail Pletnev, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Michel Plasson, Krzysztof Penderecki, Maxim Vengerov, Jacek Kaspszyk, Lan Shui; violinists Pinchas Zukerman, Gil Shaham, Midori, Vadim Repin, Shlomo Mintz, Sarah Chang, Chantal Juillet, Joseph Silverstein, Yu Lina, Cho-Liang Lin, Vera Tsu, Xue Wei, Lv Siqing, Huang Mengla; cellists Yo-Yo Ma, Jian Wang, Mischa Maisky, Lynn Harrell, Li-Wei Qin; and pianists Fou Ts’ong, Yin Chengzong, Gary Graffman, Rudolf Buchbinder, Elena Bashkirova, Lang Lang, Yuja Wang, Dang Thai Son, YUNDI, Kun-Woo Paik, Katia & Marielle Labèque, among others. Moreover, the orchestra has also held successful concerts with internationally renowned vocalists like José Carreras, Plácido Domingo, Renée Fleming, Jianyi Zhang, Ying Huang, Changyong Liao, Shenyang, Andrea Bocelli and many others. In 2011, the orchestra co-commissioned with the New York Philharmonic One Sweet Morning from the composer John Corigliano and performed its Asian premiere in May, 2012.
The SSO has also created a showcase for Chinese composers to actively present to the world their compositions, which include those by the “new-generation” composers like Tan Dun, Qigang Chen, Bright Sheng, Zhou Long, Chen Yi, An-Lun Huang, Xu Shuya, Guo Wenjing, Qu Xiaosong, Ye Xiaogang and Tang Jianping. The orchestra achieved international success by working with Tan Dun on the original soundtracks of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and The Banquet, as well as The Map (a multimedia symphonic work). The SSO also places serious emphasis on the performance and promotion of works by contemporary Chinese composers and has maintained good relationships with them. For instance, the SSO has performed and recorded Zhu Jian-er’s complete symphonies and orchestral works with enthusiasm in 2002. Mr Zhu, winner of the Lifetime Honorary Medal of the China Golden Bell Award, is the first and only Chinese composer who has published recordings of his complete symphonies and orchestral works.
Over the years, the SSO has visited countries and regions like the US, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Japan, Thailand, South Korea, North Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. On October 14, 1990, the orchestra made its debut at Carnegie Hall of New York. Recent concert highlights include its debut at the Berlin Philharmonic Hall, on June 20, 2004, its Europe tour and its performances in 11 American cities in the USA in September 2003. In 2004, the orchestra toured Europe during Sino-French Culture Year. In 2005, it held a Spanish tour, and in 2007, it performed in the Goldensaal in Vienna. In 2009, under the direction of its Music Director Long Yu, the orchestra toured North America, performing 12 concerts, including the closing ceremony of the “Ancient Paths, Modern Voices” Chinese Culture Festival held at the Carnegie Hall. In 2010, the orchestra joined the New York Philharmonic at the Central Park in a concert that flared up the enthusiasm for the Shanghai World Expo, the first orchestra ever invited in the Central Park Concert in its 45-year history. In its international tours, the SSO unfailingly sought to integrate Chinese elements into Western music tradition, which received rave acclaim from the audience and media coverage from New York Times, Wall Street Journal,Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and Toronto Star. In March 2010, Music Director Long Yu led the orchestra in the 14th Beethoven Festival in Poland, performing in Warsar and Łodz. In July, Long Yu led the orchestra in a joint concert with the New York Philharmonic in the Central Park, New York, promoting the 2010 Shanghai Expo. In July 2012, Long Yu led the orchestra in two concerts in the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, respectively in Kiel and Hamburg.
Apart from artistic pursuits, the orchestra is also committed to introducing hgh-profile artists and art forms into Shanghai. Since early 2009, the SSO has engaged in the series of “the Shanghai New Year Concert”. With the aim of “Introducing the maestros to Shanghai, and the city residents to maestros” and the working principle of “high standard, high disciplined and high sustainability”, the SSO invited maestros Riccardo Muti and Kurt Masur to conduct New Year Concerts in 2010 and 2011 respectively. Both concerts were broadcast live to the entire country via CCTV, OTV and Phoenix TV, offering an opportunity to the whole nation to enjoy the splendor of maestros and showcasing Shanghai’s cultural image.
Since 2010, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra has held the annual “Music in the Summer Air” festival, the first of its kind in Shanghai. The festival was co-directed by Long Yu and Charles Dutoit, Music Director of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Chief Conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Apart from the Shanghai Symphony and the Royal Philharmonic performing as orchestras in residence, the festival has invited a fine line of orchestras and ensembles including West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, the State Hermitage Orchestra, Russia, Macao Youth Orchestra, Southern Taiwan Pops Orchestra, Canzone Trio, Amsterdam Jazz Ensemble, Blake, Buffalo Rome, as well as first-class soloists including Ivo Pogorelich, Jian Wang, Xuefei Yang, YUNDI, Ying Huang, Liao Changyong, Wei Song and Song Zuying. Daniel Baremboim, conducting the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, and Natalia Gutman also made their Chinese debut in MISA.
It was a mission of the SSO to offer artistic education to local residents. The SSO Chamber Concert, the only weekly chamber concert project in Shanghai, launched in 1984 and regularized in 1991, has now hold more than 1000 events. In collaboration with the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission and the Shanghai Education Center for Art and Technology, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra launched the MAP (Music Advancing Program) in 2010, giving interactive performances in a number of middle schools and universities.
Music Director: Long Yu
As one of the most distinguished Chinese conductors with an established international reputation, Maestro Long Yu is currently Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the China Philharmonic Orchestra, Music Director of the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director of the Beijing Music Festival and Music Director of Music in the Summer Air Festival (MISA).
As the Chinese conductor who has conducted the world top-class orchestras most frequently among Chinese conductors, Maestro Long Yu has appeared with a prestigious list of leading orchestras and a lot of opera companies around the world, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, the Washington National Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre de Paris, the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, the Hamburg State Opera, the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, the Rundfunk Sinfonie Orchester Leipzig, Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Tokyo Philharmonic and the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.
Long Yu was born in 1964 into a family of musicians in Shanghai. Musical education in his early childhood came from his grandfather Ding Shande, a composer of great renown, and he later studied at the Shanghai Conservatory with Professor Xiaotong Huang and then studied at the Hochschule der Kunst in Berlin with Maestro Robinstein. Outstanding music talents and Excellent educational background make Long Yu a preeminent conductor.
Long Yu’s career has included both artistic and administrative appointments. In 1992, he was appointed Principal Conductor of the Central Opera Theatre in Beijing, and in the same year, he was involved in the planning of the first Beijing New Year’s Concert and served as its conductor for three consecutive years. He also produced operas for The Urban Council of Hong Kong for five successive years. In 1998, he led the creation of the Beijing Music Festival and was its Founding Artistic Director. Under his leadership the Beijing Music Festival is regarded as the largest classical music festival in the eastern hemisphere and one of the world’s most important music festivals. During the past 11years at this annual autumn festival there have been many splendid concerts given by leading orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic and the New York Philharmonic, as well as outstanding productions of the Ring, Der Rosenkavalier, Tannhäuser, La Traviata, Nabucco, Lulu and Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District by visiting opera companies including the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Teatro la Fenice and the Mariinsky Theatre.
In 2000, Long Yu co-founded the China Philharmonic Orchestra and was appointed Artistic Director and Chief Conductor. Now entering his 9th season with the China Philharmonic, he has maintained the high standard of orchestral performance and artistic administration and built the ensemble’s reputation as not only a leading Chinese orchestra but also a world-famous one. In 2003, Long Yu was appointed the Music Director of the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra and he has been raising the level and fame of the orchestra rapidly. He toured extensively with the China Philharmonic Orchestra, the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra as well as the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. In September 2003, under his leadership, the China Philharmonic Orchestra toured Europe, with memorable concerts at the Palais Garnier, Paris, the Teatr Wielki - National Opera Warsaw and the Grosser Saal of the Musikverein, Vienna. In December of the same year he undertook a major European and Egyptian tour with the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra and Mischa Maisky, giving concerts at Theatre des Champs-Élysées, Paris, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Luxemburg, Cairo Opera House and Alexander Opera House. From February to April 2005, he led the China Philharmonic Orchestra on an international tour. Within 40 days they appeared in 22 cities throughout North America and Europe. In 2008, for the first time in history, the China Philharmonic Orchestra performed under the baton of maestro Long Yu at the Vatican in the Paul VI Auditorium. The concert was attended by The Holy Father Pope Benedict XIV and marked a giant step in bringing eastern and western cultures closer together. In January 2009, Long Yu was appointed Music Director of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. In September, he debuted with the orchestra as its Music Director and conducted the orchestra’s 130th Anniversary Celebration Concert. In November, he led the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra on a twelve-city North American tour which is a huge success. The tour began with the closing concert of the Ancient Paths, Modern Voices Festival at Carnegie Hall and included concerts in Los Angeles, Toronto and San Diego. A New York Times report from November 9, 2009 gave an introduction to Long Yu’s artistic achievement and hailed him as “China’s Herbert von Karajan.” In March 2010 Long Yu conducted the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra at the 14th Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival in Krakow and gave concerts in Warsaw and Lodz. All the performances won high praise from both audiences and critics. In July, he conducted the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra in a joint concert with the New York Philharmonic in the Central Park, New York. In August, he launched the Music in the Summer Air Festival, co-directing with Charles Dutoit. In 2011, Long Yu toured extensively with the China Philharmonic Orchestra in 8 cities in west coast of United States. In Chinese spring festival of 2012, Long Yu led the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in the First Chinese New Year Concert at Carnegie Hall. In July 2012, Long Yu led the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra in two concerts in the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, respectively in Kiel and Hamburg.
Maestro Long Yu’s reputation has been enhanced by his activities as a widely admired and respected figure in administration of orchestras and festival as well as in international exchanging of musical culture. As a champion of contemporary music Long Yu has been commissioning a number of works from today’s prominent composers such as Krzysztof Penderecki, John Williams, Philip Glass, Howard Shore, John Corigliano, Guo Wenjing, Tan Dun, Ye Xiaogang, Zhao Jiping, Zhao Ling and Unsuk Chin.
Mr. Long Yu’s recordings include, on Deutsche Grammophon with the China Philharmonic, Brahms’s Piano Quartet in G Minor (orch. Arnold Schoenberg) and Wagner’s Tannhäuser Overture, highlights of Chinese symphonic music and Yellow River Concerto with Lang Lang as featured soloist. Recordings on Naxos include Korngold’s Violin Concerto and Ding Shande’s Long March Symphony.
Long Yu received the 2002 Montblanc Arts Patronage Award from the Montblanc Cultural Foundation, and in 2003 came Le grade de chevalier dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres (The Honor of Chevalier of French Art and Culture) from the Government of France. In 2005, Italian President honored Maestro Long Yu L’onorificenza di commendatore.
Being prominent musician as well as celebrated social activist, Long Yu has since long been passionately committed to raising and promoting the young artists, and has also engaged himself in the public educational projects. He consistently provides the stage for the uprising musicians throughout the seasons of the orchestras led by him, by means of which numerous artists of new generation have been recognised through the intense collaboration presented by these platforms that are most attended to. Co-founded by the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the Shanghai Orchestra Academy has already attracted a great number of young musicians from both domestic and abroad.
In November 2010, the Central Conservatory of Music has presented Maestro Long Yu with a certificate of the Honourable Academician from the Central Conservatory at a conference for 70th year anniversary of its founding, in recognition of his great contribution and devoted efforts to the development in classical music in China and cultural exchanges over the past decade. On December 2010, he was awarded People of the Year in Arts Field in China.
Long Yu is currently Vice-president of Chinese Musicians Association, member of the 14th and 15th the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.